The function of mitochondria in presynaptic development at the neuromuscular junction

Chi Wai Lee, H. Benjamin Peng

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87 Citations (Scopus)


Mitochondria with high membrane potential (ΔΨm) are enriched in the presynaptic nerve terminal at vertebrate neuromuscular junctions, but the exact function of these localized synaptic mitochondria remains unclear. Here, we investigated the correlation between mitochondrial ΔΨm and the development of synaptic specializations. Using mitochondrial ΔΨm-sensitive probe JC-1, we found that ΔΨm in Xenopus spinal neurons could be reversibly elevated by creatine and suppressed by FCCP. Along naïve neurites, preexisting synaptic vesicle (SV) clusters were positively correlated with mitochondrial ΔΨm, suggesting a potential regulatory role of mitochondrial activity in synaptogenesis. Indicating a specific role of mitochondrial activity in presynaptic development, mitochondrial ATP synthase inhibitor oligomycin, but not mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger inhibitor CGP-37157, inhibited the clustering of SVs induced by growth factor–coated beads. Local F-actin assembly induced along spinal neurites by beads was suppressed by FCCP or oligomycin. Our results suggest that a key role of presynaptic mitochondria is to provide ATP for the assembly of actin cytoskeleton involved in the assembly of the presynaptic specialization including the clustering of SVs and mitochondria themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150 –158
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


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